Text: 1 Peter 4:12-19, Romans 5:1-5, Job 2:1-10
But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
- 1 Peter 4:13, NASB
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
– Romans 8:18
It’s hard to be thankful while your world is crashing down. The ending of a job, the illness of a loved one, the loss of something you never dreamed you’d lose—so many circumstances in life take our breath away.
We are a world uncomfortable with deep, long-term suffering. We want to fix or be fixed quickly. We offer advice, platitudes, prayers, and cries to God of, “Why us? Why them?” No one wants to suffer, yet we all experience it at some point in our lives. And when we do, there is no shortage of advice on how we should handle it.
As we walk through our valleys, we do not have to dwell on our pain. Often it seems wrong and backwards that we would dare to find joy in the midst of suffering. Isn’t that a betrayal of the pain? Shouldn’t we be ashamed that our prayers were not answered? Should we be embarrassed that we believe in a God who, to someone on the outside looking in, seems to have ignored us?
Saying we’re thankful and hopeful in these situations may sound naive and even a bit crazy to those who are watching. But the Gospel never has made sense on paper, has it?
Isaiah 53:3 calls Jesus himself “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He was despised and rejected, mislabeled and wrongfully accused. He knew grief, but he did not allow it to define His life. His life on earth was defined by love. In love, He carried our grief and took on our sorrows, so we could have hope—a hope that does not change, even in the deep suffering of our earthly lives.
Sisters, it’s okay to be sad. But we know Jesus who died for us in love and rose again in love, so that all that is broken can be redeemed, so that in the midst of terrible pain we can know this isn’t all there is.
Our hope is never in vain when it’s in Jesus. Our thanksgiving in times of suffering is a testament to how temporary the pain is in light of our great eternal joy and our everlasting hope.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
- Romans 5:5